Hurt on the Job: $3.75 Million Settlement to Woman Injured By Tractor-Trailer at Work

In her job as a security guard at the Penn Terminals port in Eddystone in Delaware County, Susan Sawyer’s job was to make sure that tractor-trailers traveling through the facility matched the records for incoming and outgoing freight.

But one day in August 2008, a tractor-trailer driver operating his vehicle in the terminal was distracted as he used a cell phone and drove with his dog on his lap while he was exiting the port’s entrance gate. As a result, his truck accidentally drove over Sawyer’s foot and ankle, causing severe injuries, according to a story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The truck driver “began to pull away while Sawyer was still verifying his tractor trailer’s information, and the rear truck tires drove over Sawyer’s foot and ankle,” the story reported. The truck belonged to Crete Carrier Corp.

A construction worker is injured on the job in this file photo. Image credit: ©

The case was heard in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where a $3.75 million settlement was reached in the case in June, according to The Intelligencer. The woman’s injuries “included fractures in her foot and ankle bones, stripping of the skin from her leg to her toes, and depression.”

The incident is just one of the many accidents that occur in workplaces across the United States every year, according to government statistics.

There were 3.06 million nonfatal workplace injuries in private industry in 2010, the last full year in which complete statistics are available, according to statistics from the U. S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those cases involved 933,200 missed work days, 370,130 cases involving sprains, strains and soft tissue tears, 185,270 cases involving back injuries and 208,470 cases involving falls, according to the statistics.

For workers hurt on the job, the legal fight for compensatory damages to cover your injuries and pain and suffering starts with knowing your rights and have the best legal representation.

If you are hurt in your workplace, you have legal rights to ensure that you get proper medical treatment and are compensated for your wages in the event you are unable to work.

The AFL-CIO labor union has several tips for injured workers:

*Notify your supervisor, the personnel department and your union steward, the AFL-CIO advises.

*Get the medical treatment you need. You may be required to see a doctor selected by your employer. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurance company is obligated to pay for reasonable and necessary medical treatment.

*If your employer has written an incident report, get a copy of it for your records. You may need this information if you seek Workers’ Compensation benefits.

*You also may be entitled to temporary or permanent disability benefits or vocational rehabilitation benefits. If you file a claim for benefits and it is rejected, you may appeal the ruling, even to the courts. Experts recommend seeking legal advice.

*The U.S. Department of Labor advises that private-sector and state and local government workers injured on the job should contact their state workers’ compensation board. The department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs also has specific information for federal workers, coal mine workers and longshore and harbor workers.

OSHA has several tips for injured workers as well:

*Report any injuries or workplace accident incidents immediately.

*Get medical help quickly to prevent more serious injuries. Don’t ignore pains and other warning signs from your body. If you have been injured, you have a right to speedy and complete treatment.

*Document everything and keep good records about the incidents that led to your injuries.

If you are seriously injured at work, you should immediately talk with a competent, professional and compassionate attorney about your case. You have a myriad of legal options, including filing for Workers’ Compensation or filing a lawsuit to recover damages if your case warrants additional legal action.

The best way to review your legal strategy is to know your legal options from the start so that you can make the best choices for you and your family.

In the meantime, in the workplace, you can be you own best advocate. If you or someone you love is asked to do something in a workplace that appears to be dangerous or life-threatening, then you need to thoroughly and completely discuss it with the person asking you to perform the dangerous task.

You need to be sure that all safety procedures are being followed to the letter and that you are minimizing any and all risks to yourself and others.

And if you still have concerns, then you need to discuss them immediately with others in the workplace until you get a satisfactory reply regarding safety and proper procedures.

If such a situation puts your job in jeopardy, or if you are injured on the job due to unsafe conditions, then you should contact a qualified attorney who can fight for you and your rights.  The skilled attorneys and legal staff here at MyPhillyLawyer are here to help you in such a case.

You have the right to remain safe in your workplace. Be sure that you protect those rights for you and your family.

When Winning Matters Most, call MyPhillyLawyer.